The Draft is Tonight. No one knows anything.
OK, that’s not entirely true. There are people who know a lot of things about the draft. We’re not really them, however, as we don’t really cover high school or college baseball around here. Your huckleberries for actual insight on the amateurs who will, as of this evening, be the presumptive property of major league baseball teams are guys like ESPN’s Keith Law, MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America’s Jim Callis.
The draft will be broadcast on MLB Network this evening. There will be a pre-draft show at 6PM Eastern and the actual draft will get going at 7PM. It will also stream at MLB.com. They’ve been trying to give the draft a push like the NFL and NBA drafts in recent years, going to prime time and having presumptive draftees on location at the studio, but the baseball draft will never be an event like that. It’s too random and the players aren’t household names at all. Only two actual draft hopefuls will be on site tonight. The fact that the college baseball season is still going on kind of puts a dent into those kinds of plans.
As for who will go high, the guessing is that one of a group of players including University of Florida pitcher A.J. Puk, University of Louisville outfielder Corey Ray, Mercer University outfielder Kyle Lewis, California high school outfielder Mickey Moniak or New Jersey high school pitcher Jason Groome will go high. Groome was long thought the consensus top pick, but unlike football and the basketball, players who are drafted have the option of going to college or going back to college and Groome has flirted with both four-year and junior college commitments in recent weeks, suggesting to some he may be hard to sign. Who goes high is something of a crapshoot, really.
Actually, who goes anywhere is a crapshoot, as is how they will do. One need only look over the years of draft history to see that there are no sure things in baseball. It takes a long time to develop a player. Pitchers get hurt. Position players plateau. It makes it very difficult to handicap the draft with any degree of certainty, let alone to award letter grades the day after or to declare winners or losers. We may not know who “won” a draft for five years. If we ever do.
But it’s happening. You’ll hear a lot about it. But that one thing sports fans love -- definitive outcomes -- will be wholly absent from the draft festivities, making it, as always, as somewhat less-than-satisfying affair for all but the most knowledgable and enthused prospect junkies.